If the cancer spreads to organs far from the organ or tissue where it is located, this is called metastasis. In cancer disease, metastasis indicates an increased stage of cancer. Cancer cells occur as a result of gene mutations that occur due to many factors. Cancer, which is increasingly becoming a major problem for humanity, will continue to threaten humanity in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to find new and effective methods of cancer treatment.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that allows the immune system to fight cancer cells. The immune system allows the body to fight infectious diseases and other diseases. White blood cells consist of tissues and organs of the lymphatic system. Immunotherapy is a biological treatment. The substances used in biological therapy are obtained from living organisms. The first beginning of immunotherapy dates back to 1866. Initially starting from one observation, scientists have come a long way since then to the present day. Immunotherapy has been widely used for about 4-5 years. Immunotherapy methods are constantly being developed for new types of cancer. Currently, about twenty types of cancer can be treated with immunotherapy. There is also another type of immunotherapy for allergy sufferers
How does immunotherapy affect cancer disease?
The immune system recognizes abnormal cells and immediately goes on the defensive to destroy it. Cancer cells are also abnormal cells, but they can hide from the immune system. There are proteins on the surface of cancer cells that cover the immune cells. Immunotherapy allows the immune system to recognize cancer cells and mount defenses. Some immunotherapy drugs deliver radiotherapy and chemotherapy directly to the cancer. Immunotherapy stops the growth of cancer. They prevent the tumor from recurring.
What are the types of immunotherapy?
Drugs that interfere with the braking mechanism of the immune system: The immune system has a braking mechanism to prevent an excessive immune response. Drugs in this group neutralize the braking mechanism, allowing the immune system to respond more strongly. They enable T cells to fight cancer. For this purpose, T cells are taken from cancerous tissue; the strongest ones are selected from them, multiplied in a laboratory environment and returned to the patient. This is called T cell transfer.
Monoclonal antibodies: They are proteins found on the immune system that can bind to certain targets. These antibodies mark cancer cells and make them easier to find by the immune system. For this reason, it is known as targeted therapy. Monoclonal antibodies recognize special parts of cancer cells, not healthy cells. They block the growth zones on the surface of cancer cells, preventing the growth of cancer. Some monoclonal antibodies are introduced into the body by coating with radiation. Thus, targeted radiotherapy can be performed. Some monoclonal antibodies are loaded with cancer drugs so that they reach the cancer tissue directly.
Vaccines that treat cancer: We all have more or less information about vaccines developed against bacteria and viruses that protect us from infections. Cancer vaccines have completely different characteristics. They do not carry weakened bacteria or viruses. These are also different from vaccines that protect against cancer. Examples of vaccines that protect against cancer are the HPV vaccine and the hepatitis B vaccine. Cancer vaccines contain antigens that are located on the tumor surface. When they are introduced into the body, they allow the immune system to recognize cancer and become active. Cancer vaccines can be custom-made from your own tumor cells. A vaccine currently being administered for prostate cancer does not completely eliminate cancer, but prolongs the life of patients.
Oncolytic viruses: These are viruses that, when introduced into the body, do not touch normal cells, but destroy cancer cells.
Immunomodulators: In general, they act by making the immune system more active.
Cytokines: Cytokines are chemicals produced by some immune system cells. They have an important role in the production and activity of immune system cells and blood cells. They are applied subcutaneously, intramuscularly or intravenously. November. Immunotherapy with cytokines has a lot of side effects. Interleukins, interferons and GM-CSF are the most commonly used cytokines. Cytokines ensure the proliferation of immune system cells and act by disrupting the formation of blood vessels that feed cancer cells.
What are the benefits of immunotherapy?
* Immunotherapy has fewer side effects than chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can even be given to patients who cannot receive chemotherapy.
* It helps to prolong the life of many cancer patients.
* Immunotherapy creates cancer memory on the immune system. Thus, it can prevent the recurrence of cancer.
* It is effective on some types of cancer that are resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
* Immunotherapy can be used both alone and in combination with other treatments.
* Chemotherapy and radiation therapy also damage healthy cells. Immunotherapy does not cause much damage to healthy cells.
• It is better tolerated than chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
• There are fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
* The growth of cancer slows down or stops.
• it can prevent cancer from metastasizing.
Does every patient benefit from immunotherapy?
Oncologists decide which patient will be given immunotherapy. The observations made are that immunotherapy prolongs the life of patients. Research on the subject is ongoing.
In which types of cancer is immunotherapy used?
Immunotherapy drugs are used in many types of cancer. It is not yet as widely used as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Drug development studies are ongoing.
Are there any side effects of immunotherapy?
The main side effects:
* Nausea or vomiting
* Muscle or joint pain November 2019
* Shortness of breath
* Low or high blood pressure
* Heart palpitations
* Sinus congestion
* Risk of infection
* Organ inflammation
* Redness of the skin
What are the side effects of cancer vaccines?
* Nausea or vomiting
* Muscle or joint pain
* Shortness of breath
* Low or high blood pressure
* Severe allergic reaction
How is immunotherapy performed?
Some of the immunotherapy drugs are administered intravenously and the application is performed in the hospital. Some immunotherapy drugs are in the form of tablets or capsules. There are also immunotherapy drugs that are applied to the skin in the form of a cream. The final form of administration is to inject the drug into the urinary bladder.
Where is immunotherapy performed?
There are centers that perform immunotherapy in our country. They are usually part of the cancer treatment unit. Immunotherapy can be applied daily.
How long does immunotherapy last?
How long will immunotherapy last:
* The type of cancer and how advanced it is,
* Type of immunotherapy received,
* The patient's response to treatment depends on his condition.
Treatment can be every day, every week or every month. Sometimes immunotherapy is carried out in cycles. The patient is given treatment, rested for a while and then given again.
How to understand that immunotherapy works?
During doctor visits to patients receiving immunotherapy, blood tests and radiological examinations are performed to assess the condition of the tumor.